I got myself a HP mini 311 back in 2009 when it just came out. Like any other netbooks available during that time it comes with basic
specs of Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of ram, and a 160GB HDD. There were some difference from the 311 vs the others,
for a extra $20 you can upgrade the CPU from 1.6 to 1.66GHz, it uses DDR3 instead of DDR2, has a 11.6" vs 10.1" screen, and
has discrete graphics called Nvidia ION aka GeForce 9400M. I didn't bother wasting the extra $20 for a 6MHz increase as Atom were
weak to being with and spending the extra probably won't make too much of a difference. I did however wasted $20 to have it in
My system came with XP as Windows 7 haven't launch yet. Everything was working smooth, nothing lagged, I can watch YouTube clips,
and play some games like Portal, Bioshock, GTA SA, etc. Then a few months after use, I upgraded my ram to the max of 3GB, so I order a 2GB Crucial and installed it. At first I didn't notice, but when I began playing my games or watch online video clips, I noticed a lag that wasn't there before. So I ran some comparison between 1GB and 3GB and there was some performance differences. With 3GB the system was slower, it gave this sort of delay response, as if throw the dog a stick, the 1GB dog will fetch it right away, while the
3GB dog just sits there herping and derping before fetching it. Not only that, with 3GB of ram installed, I also noticed, the cooling fan was a lot more active than usual, it's always at full load, rarely idles down, which was dead silent before I upgrade the ram.
I send the ram back for a exchange and after the replacement, the problem still exist. Then I decided to buy another 2GB this time from G.Skill, thinking maybe my netbook is being picky. Well the problem is still there even with ram from a different brand. Then I thought could the netbook itself be defective? It was still under warranty, should I send it back or what? In the end I held on to it, as I was afraid the replacement unit may be crappier than what I have. Now with Windows 7 out in full swing and Service Pack 1 was also out, I formatted my system and install a clean version of Win7 w/SP1 32bit (my Atom don't support 64bit). And hey the system seems to work like it's used to.
Then a few more months after use, the problem came back and instead of removing the 2GB, I left it alone as I want 3GB, and so I was left with this 3GB BS nonsense. While running Windows 7, the CPU seem to work a lot harder than with XP, opening a simple thing like FireFox took longer, I can't play my games anymore and watching online clips was impossible as most of the time it's just a slideshow.
Then Adobe release its Flash player that supports GPU acceleration where it runs on the GPU instead of CPU and I thought maybe with this, I can at least watch some clips since I have a GeForce 9400M which does support GPU acceleration. When I tried it, it barely works, and because of that, CPU was mostly at 100% full load.
Fast forward to present day and this time, it got to a point where the machine was impossible to operate. Everything I do will make the CPU jump to full load, such as opening up Firefox or even My Computer. I thought maybe my system is infected, but it came up empty.
I even all my drivers and even my Bios, and that didn't work. I even proceed to install a hack bios and that didn't work either. As for the hack bios, my GPU now supports Direct X 10, as originally only supports Direct X 9.
Well for now it still doesn't work, maybe it's old as it's been 3 years since I bought it. Should I just junk it and get myself a real notebook instead of another POS netbook? Netbooks are cheap, they're like $300 bucks or so, well my cost twice as much, almost $600! Then about a few days ago I had enough and wanted to find out what's making my CPU full load all the time. I fired up CoreTemp to check on the CPU and notice the CPU was at 55C. I ran Prime95 and the CPU temp went up to 67C!
I wanted to check on my cooling system, but since there was no opening at the bottom to directly access it, I had to take my netbook apart and remove the motherboard which was a PITA. The first thing I did was check for dust, obviously it's clean as I used a dust sprayer every once in a while to keep the vents clean. Then I proceed to remove the heatsink, that's covering the CPU and GPU. After removing of the heatsink, I see that the CPU and GPU don't have any thermal paste.
Instead HP decided to use thermal pads which to me looks like el cheapo spongy duct tape that disintegrates to the slightest touch.
I remove those crappy useless thermal pads, cleaned my GPU and CPU, and applied some Arctic Silver 5. I put back my notebook together and checked out the results.
The results was a major improvement as it idles at 25C and full load to 33C. I'm able to play my games as well as watch online clips and because I changed the thermal solution, it seems my GPU is finally working with Adobe Flash GPU acceleration and other GPU accelerated programs (VLC, MPC) as my CPU this time barely reaches full load. In fact I can now even play 2 clips at once. Summary
Bought HP mini 311 because it's has Nvida ION so I can play some games and watch HD stuffs.
Install 3GB of ram and system went down hill.
Left it at 3GB installed Win7 and deal with it for a long time.
Had enough of this nonsense and took the thing apart.
Remove the thermal pad and replace with thermal paste.
System is now working and even better than it originally came with. Shorter summary
HP mini 311
Upgrade ram, turn 311 to sh*t
Format XP, install Win7, still ran like sh*t
Take thing apart, remove thermal pad, add thermal paste.
System is finally working!ResultsHP applied thermal pads
idle: 55C / load: 66CArctic Silver 5
idle: 25C / load: 33C